Let's take a critical look at his career...
I think Tarver may well be an underrated fighter by boxing fans and theres an interesting pattern that develops in a few of his key fights.
Eric Harding. Eric Harding was a good fighter man. As I remember he was giving Roy all he could handle for 8 rounds with a torn bicep, so this loss really isn't as bad as it appears and Tarver is the only man to ever put him down and out in the rematch.
If you take the Roy Jones he fought the first time, that Roy Jones is no way near as bad as people assume. The Ruiz weight gain affected him, certainly, but how badly? Roy's balance is out of sync compared to his hey days, but lets be serious, although this was the beginning of the end of 'Superman' Roy, his balance is not as good, he's a little more sluggish. But, he still has his legs. They're declining, but they're still good enough in tandem with his handspeed to ensure he's a serious proposition, he's not just a shell with ear muffs on that throws an occasional flurry that reminds of yesteryear. It's still a far cry from what he developed into over the next few years. I do feel like people just lump this Roy in with the one that lost in the rematch, and got starched by Glencoffe, and then continued his downward spiral into the corpse we see before us today doing caricature routines on Russian TV. It's very easy to do that and just say that he was extremely bad as theres a very simple logical step to that conclusion > the weight gain and what came after. I re watched this and its a high quality fight that Roy deserved to win but he had trouble doing it.
Not much needs to be said about the rematch, except to say, Tarver put him away decisively for the first time.
Then take a look at his fight vs Glencoffe Johnson I. Against a Glen coming off good performances vs Woods. There is no way Tarver lost this fight, which just goes to show for all the Road Warrior's bleating about decisions he's had one go his way he ought not to. I scored this 8-4 for Tarver. Tarver throws over 800 punches in this fight, theres not a clinch in it (its a surprisingly good fight which is one in the eye for the critics of Tarver as being boring). He lands the cleaner blows throughout, his better defence makes the difference, he lands the left at will and hurts Glen in the 12th.
In the rematch, Tarver does something which I consider to be the sign of a really good counterpuncher. He beats a good pressure fighter even clearer in the rematch dominating the early rounds.
Antonio Tarver does well in rematches, and is an adaptable fighter so long as the styles are not ridiculously skewed.
It would be remiss of me not to mention some of the poor performances, though I do think there are extenuating circumstances. That is probably one of Hopkins best victories and performance. Hopkins completely nullifies him and Tarver really doesn't have the style to beat Bernard if you consider his skillset. You've got 2 counterpunchers, but really Antonio doesn't possess a potent jab. Nor is he the most adept at being aggressive, and lacks real speed so once Hopkins begins outjabbing him, lunging in and fiddling him around its difficult to find an antidote if you have Tarver's skillset. Chad Dawson is another one thats outrageously wrong for him with the kind of handspeed and outfighting ability he has. Tarver isn't the kind of guy to push a guy like Chad off his game.
A few things to consider: Tarver did all of this in his mid 30's, and looks like he still may be going on strong at 43 years old. What would a victory over Lateef Kayode do for his status? I know Lateef and Danny Green ain't the best, but it would surely still be seriously impressive stuff.
Tarver has never really been beaten up, never stopped, earnt some good wins, and his record requires a lot more analysis than a simple look at Boxrec IMO. I've a feeling he may go down as one of those fighters whos record is aesthetically unimpressive but requires deeper analysis. And he's a damn good commentator too.